The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made people around the world realise the importance of respiratory health. Lungs, the vital organs of the respiratory system, need to be healthy enough to be able to fight deadly viruses and harmful pollutants.
This pair of self-cleansing organs can get infected, congested or inflamed when exposed to pollutants, and viral and bacterial infections, which are usually on the rise during winter. This could stunt the normal functioning of the lungs and lead to various disorders.
Thankfully, you can maintain the optimal functionality of lungs this winter and beyond by following a simple, Ayurveda-led approach. The best part of Ayurveda is that with readily-available ingredients at home, you can strengthen your lungs and boost your respiratory health.
Here are a few easy tips that can help improve your lungs and overall health during the winter.
Liquorice root is used to treat a variety of ailments including colds, sore throats, inflammation of lungs, ease digestive and gastro-intestinal disorders and cure stomach ulcers. If you have a sore throat or hoarseness in voice, chew a twig of liquorice or drink liquorice tea for instant relief!
Kalmegh root is one of the most popular herbs used in Ayurveda for treating respiratory ailments. This herb is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antioxidant and beneficial in treating fever, common cold, cough, flu and infections of the upper respiratory tract. Kalmegh has a bitter taste so make sure to consume it in a diluted form.
Vasaka leaf is a miracle herb that has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and expectorant properties. Drinking a concoction of Vasaka leaves helps reduce chest and nasal congestion. It also helps get rid of excess sputum, stop the nasal discharge, clear the lungs and treat bronchitis, tuberculosis and other lung disorders.
You can prepare a decoction of Vasaka leaves by boiling some leaves in water and adding a spoon of honey when cooled. Drinking this concoction daily can help prevent respiratory infections and get relief from cough and cold.
Take a teaspoon of fennel seeds, 2-3 pods of cardamom, 3-4 black pepper seeds, 1 whole clove, 1 pod of star anise, ½-inch cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Bring these ingredients together to boil for 10 minutes. Drink this herbal tea once daily!
Turmeric with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties is beneficial for curbing cough, congestion and cold. You can have a mixture of turmeric and ginger or drink turmeric milk daily to keep your lungs in optimum health.
Adding this aromatic and refreshing spice to your diet during winter strengthens your lungs.
Kavala or oil pulling implies gargling with any edible oil such as sesame or sunflower oil. This process clears the sinuses, phlegm and keeps allergic respiratory disorders at bay. Take a sip of sesame or sunflower oil, swish it around the mouth for a few minutes and spit it out. Practice this process every morning, after brushing your teeth.
Practising pranayama practices like Kapalbhati, Anulom-vilom, Ujjayi and Shitali daily help enhance the functionality of lungs and boost immunity to fight lung diseases. Pranayama helps relieve congestion in the chest, shortness of breath and clears mucus in the air passage.
Consume citrus such as lemon, oranges, sweet limes, and grapefruits are Vitamin C rich fruits that help boost immunity and improve the oxygen-transferring capacity of lungs.
Triphala, an Ayurvedic Rasayana formula, consisting of equal parts of powdered Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki help keep lungs and breathing disorders at bay. It also aids rejuvenation and repair of lung cells. Mix a teaspoon of Triphala powder in a glass of water and drink it every night before dozing off to bed.
Cover your face with a mask while stepping out of the house. Covering your nose and face can prevent winter smog, allergens, toxins, smoke, and pollen from entering the mucosal lining of the airway tract and infecting the lungs.
Our lungs serve as the gatekeepers for pathogens. Fortifying them with breathing practices, diet and herbal support can help them stay in optimum health. This winter, follow the Ayurvedic tips discussed here, adopt a routine that paves the way for holistic wellness into your life, and see how your health improves for good!